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Top 5 David Adjaye Projects

The B1M | 5:53

Top 5 David Adjaye Projects

Peter Smisek

25 July 2018

Video Views

Video hosted by Fred Mills.

DAVID Adjaye is one of the world’s most celebrated architects.

His firm, Adjaye Associates, has completed more than 70 projects ranging from galleries and shopping malls, to vast university buildings, museums and skyscrapers.

In 2017, he was knighted for his services to architecture and described as "one of the leading architects of his generation - a global and cultural ambassador for the UK.”

We've taken a look at his five most impressive projects to date.


First off, we have the Aishti Foundation in Beirut, Lebanon.

Completed in 2015, this striking building located on the city's waterfront contains 377,000 square feet (35,000 square metres) of retail and gallery spaces.

Above: The Aishti Foundation is an art gallery and shopping mall on the Beirut waterfront (image courtesy of Julien Lanoo).

The project features a richly patterned screening facade made from aluminium tubing. Initially intended to be made from ceramics, the first shipment of the tiles was damaged before it could reach the building and the material specification was changed.

Thankfully, the completed building is still striking, and the same pattern - in steel and marble - can be found in the mall's futuristic interior.


Next, we are off to Skolkovo - the Russian equivalent of Silicon Valley, located about 20 kilometres outside of Central Moscow - where Adjaye Associates completed the USD $360M Moscow School of Management in 2010.

Above: The Moscow School of Management is a single building that functions as a university campus (image courtesy of Ed Reeve / Adjaye Associates).

In order to create a viable student community in the country's famously harsh winters, Adjaye decided against a campus arrangement and instead integrated all of the school's facilities within a single building.

The structure's 150 metre-wide circular base contains classrooms, lecture halls and other teaching facilities, while the four dramatically cantilevering blocks above house administration, a health centre, hotel and student accommodation.


In third place is Francis A. Gregory Neighbourhood Library in Washington D.C. completed in 2012.

With an area of 23,000 square feet (2,100 square metres) and a budget of USD $13M, the project demonstrates Adjaye Associates' abilities to deliver smaller schemes in relative terms.

Above: Despite its global renown, David Adjaye's practice still works on medium sized community projects like the Francis A. Gregory neighbourhood Library in Washington D.C. (image courtesy of Jeff Sauers / Adjaye Associates).

Here, Adjaye drew from his experience designing libraries in London, creating an open, inviting space for the local community.

Patterns once again dominate the building's facade; the timber lattice creates a distinct identity, whilst helping to cut-down on glare for occupants.

The building’s canopy and surrounding vegetation keep out the summer sun, while allowing maximum solar exposure in winter - a feature that earned this project a LEED Silver certification.


Above: Rivington Place arts centre plays an integral part in the success of London's creative East End (image courtesy of Lyndon Douglas / Adjaye Associates).

Number two brings us to London's Shoreditch, where Adjaye completed this robust, RIBA-Award winning arts centre in 2007.

When it opened, this 15,500 square foot (1,445 square metre) complex was the first publicly funded newly-built gallery in London for 40 years.

The building's exterior consists of eight rows of windows set within a progressively smaller checkerboard of black concrete panels, but the building actually has just five floors.

Inside, it features spaces dedicated to visual art, alongside studios and an auditorium.


Easily taking our top spot is The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) on the National Mall in Washington D.C..

Above: The NMAAHC is David Adjaye's largest and most important project to date (image courtesy of Alan Karchmer).

Adjaye Associates, together with Freelon and Bond/Smith Group won a competition to design the structure in 2009.

Built over a period of four years, the NMAAHC is the National Mall's deepest museum, with excavations extending some 80 feet (14 metres) below grade to create the building's foundations.

Above: Aside from being the newest museum on the National Mall, the NMAAHC is also the deepest (image courtesy of the Smithsonian).

The museum’s exterior resembles three upturned stacked volumes, which are clad in 3,600 bronze-coloured cast-aluminium screen-like panels whose pattern was inspired by African American craftsmanship.

A hugely symbolic project, the 420,000 square foot museum cost USD $540M to complete and was opened by President Obama in September 2016.

Above: With a number of ongoing projects, such as the 66-storey skyscraper at 130 William Street in New York, David Adjaye will no doubt continue to design and deliver inspiring structures in the years to come (image courtesy of Adjaye Associates).

By architecture’s standards, Sir David Adjaye, currently 51 years old, is still a young man.

With a string of new commissions, such as the National Cathedral of Ghana, a 66-storey concrete skyscraper at 130 William Street in New York and Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art in Riga, we're sure this list will look quite different in five years' time.

Images courtesy of Ed Reeve, Francesco Russo, Edmund Summer, Adjaye Associates, Alan Karchmer, Julien Lanoo, Jeff Sauers, Lyndon Douglas, The Smithsonian and Brad Feinkopf

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